How do you overcome advisers constantly moving the football / changing their minds?
I write papers after recommendations from my advisers and every time I end up redoing the entire analysis or asking an entirely different question. I feel like Charlie Brown and Lucy keeps moving the football. Here are three examples:
I spent the entire third year of my PhD working on a paper with my committee chair using a specific type of model he specializes in to answer my research question. After completing the paper and submitting it to my department for review, my adviser comes back and says to scrap it. I pushed back a bit and asked what should be changed, but nothing could change his mind. He wanted a two-page outlining the new research question and modeling strategy. So I scrapped it and now the paper sits in a folder in my Dropbox.
I spent my summer working on another paper with my committee chair as part of my dissertation. I finalize my results and draft a paper for my proposal defense. My committee approves my proposal, but in a meeting afterwards my chair suggests I redo the research question and thus incorporate a new modeling strategy. The paper has gone through several revisions, is complete, and ready to be sent out for peer review. However, here I am again reworking the analysis with a completely different modeling strategy and question.
And finally, another paper I have been working on has had results for over a year, but is now undergoing a major revision to rework the modeling strategy, again. I am now on the 4th major revision of this paper having redone the entire analysis each time. I was literally writing up the results/discussion section of the paper when I received an email suggesting we rework the model.
On top of these three examples, I have two working papers that need minor revisions and are at a point where they could be sent out for peer review. I have published several papers as lead author and constantly review papers for other academic journals in my field, so while my experience is limited I know my research can be published.
I feel like my advisers keep moving the football and I can't get my dissertation completed. I was on track to graduate in the spring, but none of the papers for my dissertation are complete and it appears I will need another year. But my experience thus far has lead me to believe Lucy will continue to move the football, so I'm considering dropping out and finishing ABD.
How can I deal with this constant momentum shift of my papers with advisers?